Released on 06 April 2017.

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American War

3.87 based on 1410 ratings & 112 reviews on Goodreads.com

Synopsis

'[American War] creates as haunting a post-apocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road, and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America . . . El Akkad has written a novel that not only maps the harrowing effects of violence on one woman and her family, but also becomes a disturbing parable about the ruinous consequences of war on ordinary civilians.' Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, that unmanned drones fill the sky. And when her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she quickly begins to be shaped by her particular time and place until, finally, through the influence of a mysterious functionary, she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. Telling her story is her nephew, Benjamin Chestnut, born during war – part of the Miraculous Generation – now an old man confronting the dark secret of his past, his family’s role in the conflict and, in particular, that of his aunt, a woman who saved his life while destroying untold others.

In the media

American War is Omar El Akkad’s first novel and it is masterful. Both the story and the writing are lucid, succinct, powerful and persuasive . . . Over the course of the novel, we will discover how the narrator came to know and love Sarat, how he suffered to see her suffer and how he witnessed good and evil do battle for her soul. But, more importantly, we come to reflect once more on the egotism and idiocy of war, and on the millions of people it makes homeless, and on the unfortunate way that those who still have the means to live inside locked homes tend to hate others who show up en masse at their doorstep, shoeless and hungry and desperate.
Toronto Globe and Mail
American War is a worthy first novel, thought-provoking [and] earnest . . . It is at its best depicting the lives of ordinary people caught up in terrible circumstances and how those ordinary people are, in the crosshairs of crisis, forever changes, and how some can become extraordinary or at least affect history.
Los Angeles Times
El Akkad has created a brilliantly well-crafted, profoundly shattering saga of one family’s suffering in a world of brutal power struggles, terrorism, ignorance, and vengeance. American War is a gripping, unsparing, and essential novel for dangerously contentious times.
Booklist (starred review)